Saab announced their first car, the aerodynamically advanced two-stroke engined 92, in late 1947 and continued to develop and produce only one model range until the wholly new and much larger 99 was launched in 1968. The 96 was the ultimate expression of that original theme and commenced production in 1961, still using their own rally proven two-stroke. Saab then entered into an agreement to buy Ford’s compact V4 engine and their first four-stroke car, the 96 V4, was announced in late 1966. It continued in production in that form until, remarkably, February 1980.
HDF 918L was partially dismantled some years ago in preparation for a restoration that stalled. It was recently rescued by Ant Anstead of Evanta Motors for Series 2 of Channel 4’s ‘For the Love of Cars’ and has now been completely restored by Ant working with the team at restoration specialists MRH in Hertford. Firstly, the shell was fully stripped and assessed, then all welding repairs were completed before it could be painted in the original Saab Ambragelb Y8B. The original engine, gearbox and ancillaries were then rebuilt with new or reconditioned components and modern electronic ignition was fitted in order to improve cold starting and reliability. The wiring and electrical systems were renewed or restored and the fuel system was also completely rebuilt with modern materials. A single choke Weber carburettor was fitted in order to utilise its manual choke. The brakes, steering and suspension were also completely rebuilt with new components throughout and fitted with poly bushes.
The car has had a total nut and bolt restoration with the only major divergence from standard factory specification, being an interior trimmed partially in a glorious high quality tartan material, a nod to the fact that the car had been stored for a long time near Edinburgh. It’s been carried out purely for the love of saving one of these rare late model Saabs and the cost of replicating the work would done be astronomical. As such, it represents a fine opportunity to purchase a superb Saab 96 which could equally be used as an everyday car or make a fine show car. This car comes with a current V5 document.